Friday, October 31, 2003

My last day at work.
My last blog from the place where I started blogging.
The last few words that I shall ever type on this computer.
The last time I will grumble about my computer. (Today the UPS blew-up!)

Things to do (Oct 31, 2002)

· Clear everything with Accounts
· Don’t cry
· Hand over all documents to my director
· Don’t cry
· Write a goodbye mail to everyone in office
· Don’t cry
· Treat everyone to ice cream
· Don’t cry
· Clear my personal stuff from the drawers
· Don’t cry
· Save all personal files on yahoo briefcase.
· Don’t cry
· Delete all personal files from the hard disk
· Don’t cry
· Say goodbye to everyone
· Cry a little in the loo

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Your eyes speak a thousand words
Your hands caress like butterfly kisses
If any girl asked me about love
I would tell her what she misses

That naughty look in your eyes
Challenging and daring
The warmth of you held close
Tender, loving and caring

Your I-am-more-mature-than-you air
And the child inside of you
My words of love remain unspoken
But you do know don’t you? …… I do

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I have moved around all my life, consequences of my father’s transferable job. I have grown up in different houses, in different cities and studied in different schools. I have made new friends only to lose them. And over the years the only baggage that I have accumulated are my memories. Even when I sit quietly in the corner of my house, my body sways gently in the motion of a moving caravan in the desert.
Goodbyes are difficult, despite the years of practice. I can’t stop the tears that roll down my cheeks. I am afraid of what lies ahead. The sands change shape in the desert. The heat, the thirst and the desert storms.
For once, I want to stay put. For once, I want to call a place my own. For once, I want to belong. But in my heart I know, the nomadic blood in my veins runs strong. I have to keep travelling. On and on. To my destiny. To the end of the world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I have been in sea for a long long time. I have watched the sea change colours; from the beautiful bluish-orange of dawn and the bright blue-green of day to the menacing black of night. My sails have long been worn-out and progress is slow. ‘ Help me’ I scream, but my parched throat barely croaks. I am dying of starvation and my soul burns away in the hot ocean sun. Everyday I tighten the belt around my stomach and I lose a little more of my dreams.
And then, at last I see it. Hope! I rub my eyes. Am I dreaming? Is this really happening?
Land Ahoy!

Friday, October 17, 2003

him: am I a mystery?
me: no not a mystery
him: then what am I?
me: just a hazy picture on my wall that I like
me: and when I ask myself why I have no answers
him: a hazy picture...?
me: I can't make out the colours
me: or the form
me: or the intention of the painting
him: why hazy?
him: is it the fog in the room?
me: no perhaps it is the fog in my eyes

Thursday, October 16, 2003

The following are my thoughts on Dragon’s random thoughts about story-telling (story-writing).

What’s happily ever after (hea)?
The moment you use the word ‘after’ in the phrase ‘hea’ it implies that there was something ‘before’ that point and unless the author likes using the phrase indiscriminately it usually implies that the ‘before’ was not entirely happy. But from that point, the point between the ‘before’ and the ‘after’, unhappiness ceases to exist in the lives of the characters in context. Aren’t fairy tales supposed to be just that? A tale of promised happiness for ever and ever.

Why do we define separations as unhappy?
Who says separations are always unhappy? The process is always painful for all. Change takes time to adjust to. But I can think of dozens of people who are very happy after separations.
Perhaps people tend to define separations as unhappy because they’re always lined with regrets. Regrets about how good the ‘before ‘ was and that it would never be the same again. Or regrets about why there was a ‘before’ at all.

Do the stories need to keep reiterating beliefs of meeting princes and ending with the phrase 'hea'?
Not all stories. But when they say truth is stranger than fiction, they speak the truth. Our personal life is so full of dullness and repetitions. And the world around us doesn’t have much solace to offer either. Let’s admit it. Too much of truth sucks. I am all for honesty. But sometimes I want to be an ostrich and bury my head into the sand and do away with the glaring truth for a while.
How a little bit of romance makes a difference! Meeting princes and ‘hea’ endings are not beliefs but hopes. What’s wrong with a little bit of hope?

Who decides what's 'hea'? If it is the author, how do so many authors make the same decision? Or is it not a decision as much as an enforced construction?
(Dictionary meaning of happiness: Characterized by good luck; fortunate; Enjoying, showing or marked by pleasure, satisfaction or joy.)
You should do a flow chart of a situation. The result of any incident can broadly have two ends: joy or sorrow. Fairy tale endings are like dreamcatchers. They suppress the sorrow and let the joy overpower all. Then what is so surprising about authors making the same decision?
You should check out the sales of Mills and Boons. Happy endings sell.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Tiny yellow flowers have sprouted in the light green patch of grass in front of my office like hope out of nothingness. Perhaps below the emptiness lie the layers of destiny, hidden away from the naked eye. Yet inevitably it reveals itself in a burst of opportunities, perhaps to be trampled upon by the venturing feet of stronger individuals. Or perhaps to become the dinner treat for the herd of cows that will come to graze; the tiny yellow flowers on the patch of grass in front of my office, now dark green, in the light of the setting sun.
My roommate bet me yesterday that I couldn’t keep my mobile switched off for even a day. At first I thought that I really couldn’t, but I can. And amazingly enough, it is rather enjoyable not being contactable at all times.
You make the rules. You decide who you want to contact and when. And then you disappear into the shadows and sink into anonymity. No past. No present. No future. You glide around in the darkness and your breath caresses the homeless wrapped in dirty plastic sheets, shivering even in their sleep. You walk on, leaving behind no footprints and no image in the mirror. You are finally what you seek to be. A nobody, with no bags to weigh you down. Travelling light on the road to nowhere.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Some love stories are short and sweet. Perhaps the sad endings are what make it touching. A friend had told me about his parents’ love story some years ago. Now I remember just a few snatches of it, but the sweet and sad feeling lingers on.
She was from an obscure village from Kerala. She walked miles to her school. After completing her Class X she was expected to quit school and start helping the family in the farm, despite her being the best student in class. And she did what I would have never dared to do. She ran away from home, to Delhi.
A young girl in a new city, who spoke no Hindi, just Malayalam and broken English learnt in the village school. She landed up in AIIMS and went straight up to the HOD demanding that she be given a chance to appear for the competitive nursing exam. The last date for application had already passed he informed her but he must have been impressed by her determination. He gave her a chance and she excelled in the competitive exam.
She moved into a hostel for the fortnight before she left for nursing course in Tamil Nadu. She made some friends and one day a girl in the hostel asked her whether she wanted to accompany her and her boyfriend to CP. Not knowing too many people, she readily agreed. But once she was out with them she felt uncomfortable. She told them she’d get back to the hostel on her own. Not being able to read Hindi didn’t help and she got up on the wrong bus. Not knowing what to do and unable to communicate with the bus conductor, her eyes had filled up with tears when a man standing next to her spoke to her in Malayalam. Initially she ignored his attempt to help her but then she wiped her tears and told him where she wanted to go. They got down from the bus and he took her home, barely exchanging a few sentences. She glanced at him a few times from the corner of her eyes. Her handsome angel. He left her outside her hostel, smiled and walked away, never turning his head to look back at her. She watched him till he disappeared into the corner.
For the next few days she paced her hostel, thinking about him, wishing that she had said something. Wishing that he would come to visit her. And when she had given up all hopes, he landed up in her hostel and asked her if she would go out with him that evening. She had nodded shyly. He told her about himself. He was a navy pilot. He came from a well-educated family. Her heart felt heavy as she heard him talk about himself. What had she been thinking? He would never like a girl like her.
She left for Tamil Nadu for her nursing course refusing to let this affect her. She had her ambitions to look forward to. But they kept in touch. And when she completed her course he asked her to marry her.
I wish I could say that they lived happily ever after. But some lives seem to attract tragedy like honey attracts bees. Maybe I will not talk about the end to their story. I remember reading somewhere that stories have no beginnings and no endings, it is the author who decides where to start it and where to end it. So this story ends here.
The End.

Monday, October 13, 2003

I wonder why I thought of this incident. I had met Raja only once, at a wedding. I remember him laughing as he had shared some PJ. That’s my only memory of him and I had tried to erase the rest from my head. I guess, it was the watching the tracks go by when I leaned my head out of the door that reminded me of him. I had cried then, I remember, despite barely knowing him. Tears of frustration. He was hardly two years older than me. No one deserves to die that way. Especially someone that young.
A sane and practical person would not believe in superstitions. Then how do you explain certain incidents? Coincidences? My weekend train journey reminded me of one such incident.
There is a Bengali superstition which says that ‘If someone dies unexpectedly, he takes his near and dear ones with him.’ A distant relative of mine had died some years back. His grandson Raja, a cousin of mine (third/fourth cousin) was his favourite. Raja, then working in Bombay, when informed of his grandfather’s sudden death, was heartbroken and had said he would travel back to Calcutta for the last rites. The day of his arrival came and went but he had not come home. His frantic relatives had called up Bombay and had been informed that he had left for Calcutta as planned. Finally, his relatives called up my dad, who works in the
Railways, thinking that he might be able to help them.
Raja’s body was found three hours away from Calcutta, between two obscure stations lying next to the tracks, rotting, recognisable only by his severed head.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Why Why Why?
In between talking to half a dozen people and writing ten mails to my clients I managed to squeeze in time to take an IQ test.
I fall under the 'highly intelligent' category. Obviously being highly intelligent does not stop one from taking silly tests to reassure oneself that one is indeed intelligent.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon...everything's different.

Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I am completely rushed off my feet right now. Then why am I not floating in the air?

Responsibility hangs around me like musty air. Suffocating. I feel like a 10-year-old prince sitting on the throne. I rule my land while they conspire behind my back. Waiting for me to make a mistake. Waiting greedily. I can hear them whispering in the dark corners and the shuffling noises that follow me like a shadow.

I don’t have the capability to face responsibility or the capacity to deal with power. But do I have the courage to walk away? To leave all this behind? How can there be comfort in discomfort?

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

When I was two, I was taken to the doc
To get my ears pierced and I had jumped in joy
After the first ear, I refused to pierce the other
I’d howled in pain, wishing that I were a boy

When I was three, I was only two feet
But dependent I was definitely not
So when I brushed my teeth and needed water,
I would dip my toothbrush into the toilet pot

When I was four I had a pet squirrel
A baby squirrel, little and sweet
But a big ugly cat carried him away
And he became the cat’s dinner meat

When I was five I had a new brother
Jealous, I thought my parents didn’t love me
So I cleaned the basin with my parents’ towel
The same basin where they made my brother pee

When I was eleven I was still as naughty
Bane of my parents’ life and how!
I fooled around with my dad’s razor
And shaved off my right eyebrow

Now I am twenty-five, a mature young woman
And I thought I had left all those days behind
But I stayed up last night playing dark room
Giggling like a fool, I have completely lost my mind!

Monday, October 06, 2003

Another quick trip home. And I hardly spent any time at home. Travelled around in some parts of Chattisgarh. A must for all people bitten by the travel-bug. The holiday passed by in a whiz but left behind memories to be cherished for a long long time.
Highlights of my trip to Bastar-land
· Chitrakoot Waterfalls: The highest waterfalls in India (in terms of volume) Scary and fabulous, especially after the monsoons.
· Tirathgarh Waterfalls: The most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. It fell suddenly from a deceptively quiet pool down a cliff (black and layered rocks, like in a mica chip). Imagine a frothing white curtain on the slate-grey-black rocks. And then it fell again almost a hundred feet into a stream. The steam curved and got lost between the bends of a high gorge, green in the post-monsoon season. Breath taking and I am still lost for words.
· Kailash Caves: Situated on a hill (you have to climb more than half kilometre of steep steps) in the middle of one of the last surviving virgin forests in the country. A deceptively tiny entrance to the cave (we had to literally crawl inside) led to a huge hall. We kept climbing down; our mouths open, gaping in awe. The stalagmites and stalactites could win any sculpture competition in the world. But keep your oxygen masks ready. The walk back to the entrance made us breathless for reasons other than the beauty of the place. Not suitable for people with claustrophobia, vertigo and arachnophobia (huge spiders all around).
· A village Haat: Colourful and so very beautiful. If you are a non-vegetarian you must try the ant chutney (Yes, the tribals actually eat ants. And no, I managed to resist the temptation to try it. I didn’t quite fancy being bitten by red ants crawling inside my mouth)
· A wooden swing: In the middle of the village with beautiful traditional carvings on the old worn-out wooden swing pillars. And spikes (three-inch thick iron spikes) on the seat of the swing. The story: During the festival of the Danteshwari Goddess, a young girl of the tribe (probably an untouched virgin) is made to sit on the spikes and is swung till Goddess Danteshwari comes and rescues her. I don’t know how the story ends. Does she die? Or does the Goddess rescue her? What I do know is that this actually happens.
· The women and their jewellery: My oh my is all I can say. Dark-skinned, draped in half-saris, blouse-less showing off their beautiful backs. Adorned in silver. We tried to purchase some jewellery in the village haat but it was ridiculously expensive. The village women save and scrounge to be able to purchase even a simple bangle.
· Bastar art: Terracota, wood-work and wrought iron. Unbelievable stuff.
· The roads: It is difficult to believe that India has such good roads till you actually travel on them. A pleasant surprise.
· The countryside: The road passes through avenues of dark green shady trees. Trees that look almost pruned (Later we discovered why. The villagers/tribals keep cutting off branches for firewood and cattle-feed, which gives the trees the pruned look). Paddy fields on both sides of the road which stretch endlessly, like meadows in light green. And the meadows interspersed with black rocks precariously balancing like magic and high cliffs. Blue skies, light green meadows that stretch till the eyes can see, dark green trees and black perfectly shaped black rocks.
Empty lives we lead, you and me
Running around in circles round
All our problems we know and see
But the solutions are needles in a hay mound

Superficial lives and superficial friends
We wipe our tears in the dark
Walking blindly into every alley, into dead-ends
Stuck in a golden cage, a pretend-happy lark

Patiently we wait for death to come
The dessert served at the end of dinners
On scales our souls are weighed lump sum
The saints for God, for the Devil the sinners

Seldom do we glance at the setting sun
And the clock in the kitchen ticks away
We keep living the empty lives we’ve spun
Minute by minute, day by day

Saturday, October 04, 2003

My twenty-fifth birthday came and went. Nothing silverish about it! Well, alright! Nothing silverish about it apart from the strands of silver in my hair.